Anne Muyiwa
Anne Muyiwa

International Widows Day is a global awareness day that takes place annually on 23rd June. The day was launched by the United Nations in 2010 to raise awareness of the violation of human rights that widows suffer in many countries following the death of their spouses.

In many countries with traditional societies, women find themselves left in poverty when their husband dies. In some countries, these women find themselves denied of inheritance and land rights, evicted from their homes, ostracised and abused. The children of widows also often find themselves affected, withdrawn from school and more vulnerable to abuse, especially in the case of girls.

In Nigeria, one of such persons who has been fighting for the widows has been Public Affairs Analyst, Consultant, Counsellor, Dr Omolola Omoteso nee Famuyiwa, who lost her husband some years back.

Omolola, whose family and friends began a campaign for her tagged #JusticeforOmolola was abused both in Nigeria and the USA. According to her, Lagos State Hospital and Lagos State Judiciary (LSJ) were complicit in the abuse she experienced because a death certificate was issued with the wrong details to the wrong person and bank certificate was issued in her name without her knowledge.

Omolola is championing this cause not just for herself but for millions all over the world who have been derided, dehumanised, disenfranchised and disinherited because their husband died.

Seeing that the campaign brings about great change in Nigeria, she stated, “I count on you to assist me to get #JusticeforOmolola and #JusticeforWidows so we can #EndWidowAbuse and succeed in our bid to compel the Justice Department to stop the bid to abuse my rights as successor by authorising a woman who has not posted bond to sell off properties in my husband’s name and use this as ladder to #ReformProbateLaws in Nigeria and the USA for a start.”

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Speaking with on the issue, she stressed that “widows have become a target mainly because of being vulnerable and the fear of losing their lives. This is a crime, but try reporting to the Police and they discuss first a cut or money upfront to pursue the case.”